Deborah Ross interviewed Mindy Weisel on October 19, 2010 in Washington, D.C. as part of the Jewish Womenâs Archive "Weaving Women's Words" project.
The first baby born in the Displaced Persons Camp at Bergen-Belsen right after the war, Mindy Weisel grew up with the responsibility to âbe everythingâ to her parents, who had survived Auschwitz. Today, she is an acclaimed abstract artist, working in paint and glass. In her interview, she talks about how she felt when she realized that not every father had a number on his arm and that other children had grandparents and extended families. She describes the impact on her life and work of discovering the only drawing her father ever made: sketch of a sunrise at Bergen Belsen in 1946, and her fascination with her father's number. While her life story informs her work, her art is not about the tragedy and horror of the Holocaust. Instead she conveys the tension between darkness and light and above all, seeks beauty.
During 2010 and 2011, Deborah Ross decided to interview a number of Jewish women living and working in and around Washington, D.C. Having lived in the area for over three decades, she wondered how these women, many of them the firsts in their fields, all of them distinguished, understood their Jewish identity. "In other words," she wrote, "not, 'What makes us Jewish?' but 'What does being Jewish make us'"? Over a year's time, working as a volunteer, she interviewed nine women on video.
The complete video recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive. To see the online exhibit based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/DC stories